This past week saw the launch of Veropedia, a quality-oriented, stable version of Wikipedia (see What is Veropedia?). A select cadre of trusted contributors go out and identify good versions of articles on Wikipedia and upload them to Veropedia. The idea is that if you want to read an article about a certain subject, go to Veropedia first to see what has been identified as the best version of the article, and if Veropedia doesn’t have it yet, it just links you right through to the newest revision on Wikipedia. This is an awesome feature because Wikipedia articles are constantly in flux, and it can be a headache trying to read Wikipedia and running smack dab into vandalism or a chopped up article in the midst of an edit war.
I bring up Veropedia because I had a not insignificant role in its creation. I’ve been involved from the very beginning about seven months ago. I wrote roughly half of the back-end code (not the interface stuff). Specifically, I wrote the code that grabs articles from Wikipedia, parses them, inserts them into the Veropedia database, and munges them to conform to the Veropedia style. A learned a lot about databases and XML and HTML parsers while writing the code for Veropedia. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do nearly as much with Veropedia since I started my job, which has taken up most of my free time. But I’m still up in the rafters, keeping tabs on things, and wishing it much success.
The neatest thing about Veropedia is how it feeds back into and improves Wikipedia. Veropedia has a very comprehensive article checker that points out just about every flaw with an article that a computer program can find. But articles aren’t edited on Veropedia. Veropedia contributors must go and edit the article on Wikipedia, fixing up all the flaws, until a quality version is ready for importation to Veropedia. So everyone wins: both Wikipedia and Veropedia get improved articles. The Veropedia article checker even finds many flaws in Featured Articles on Wikipedia, such as broken external links.
Update 2007-10-29: Awesome, it looks like the news of Veropedia’s launch made Slashdot’s front page. And a link to this blog post was included in the write-up. Color me surprised that my site hasn’t gone down already. Anyway, if you have any questions for me about Veropedia, feel free to ask me here and I’ll respond ASAP. Or come chat with us in #veropedia on irc.freenode.net. Also, feel free to check out the rest of this site. You might find something interesting.